Most restoration jobs require a little research, maybe some welding or paint, while not necessarily easy, it is somewhat straightforward. Vinyl dash pads are a whole other animal.
How do you restore a vacuum-formed vinyl dash pad that has weathered and split after sitting in the sun year after year? The vinyl turns to brittle plastic that cracks if you look at it wrong, much less touch it.
There are things that can be done if the vinyl is still flexible and soft, but hard vinyl is pretty much useless, rendering the pad a total loss. Sure, there are dash rebuilders who have the specialized machines to strip and re-vinyl your old dash, but that costs big dollars. Now there is a solution to this problem, one just about anybody can do at home. COM now offers an alternative to expensive rebuilding services.
A thermoformed plastic dash cap is created to fit over your existing dash pad, reversing the damaging effects of the sun. The caps are easy to install, taking only about an hour for our model.
How To Repair A Cracked Vinyl Dashboard
They are designed to be installed with the dash in the car, but I took the dash out, to make things a little easier. There were a couple of issues with the dash we used, due to the original design.
Now instead of making a proper recess for the plaque, the new cap is cut out and leaves the original dash exposed just over the plaque. While this would have been acceptable, the person who trimmed my cap did a fairly poor job, cutting an oval instead of a rectangle. This was not a problem for me, having spent the last few years as a plastics designer, building thermo-forming tools; I am quite familiar with modifying plastics.
I will show you how to do the same, creating a beautiful dash. That being said, the dash was otherwise, a good quality unit that fit well and looks like a brand new dash. So follow along and see how to restore your vinyl dash at home with a Dash Cap. The original dash pad in our Buick GS convertible has seen better days.
This section had split and cracked out, losing some of the vinyl covering. Although I have seen worse, this pad is basically junk.
The resto begins by removing the vents and emblems. The pad needs to be clean so a liberal spraying of an ammonia-based cleaner was used, and then wiped off with a clean towel. Both front and back sides are cleaned. The outer edges of the pad need to be scuffed up so the adhesive will stick.
Some grit paper does the job. The inner sections for the vents and gauge panel should be included as well.My dash pad was lifting around the center speaker on my 96 Deville.
It bugged me as it ruined the look of the dash and looked damaged. I am sure that the sun beating through the windshield is rough. I noticed that the foam where it pulled away from the shell was sticky and damp. Could this edge have pulled away because of vinyl cleaners and sprays being sprayed in the area or is it just shrinkage from the heat and cold?
Here is the adhesive I used, it is good for plastic, vinyl and foam, it fit the bill! Its a polyurethane adhesive and it needs to cure for 24 hours. So I clamped it for 24 hours. I don't know if I mentioned it but I had the dash pad off because I replaced the air mix actuator. So the clamping took place with the pad on my bench. I cut 1 x 3"'s to fit the sides and did one side at a time.
You can still see where I clamped a 1 x 3", that indentation has since disappeared. The clamping indentations on the two sides is already gone in this photo.
The area is tight and it was not pulled back at all, the adhesive feels tough, so maybe this will work! I used a one inch flexible puddy knife to smooth the adhesive on the shell and the pad and got it as deep as I could trying to reach the part that was still stuck.
I think this came out good. It was hot today and the sun beat down on it and its still sticking. I will post an update during the dog days of August. Follow me on: Twitter Instagram Youtube.
Thanks Bruce, I have heard others complain about this problem so maybe someone will benefit. I hope it holds, I think it will. The dash pad looks great! The windshield, now thats another story.
That is next on the list. Its a hard and expensive job however. A detailer must peel back the cloth top and a glass shop must replace the windshield. I was paid for it already. I have had two appointments and it rained both times Jeeze Mike, that's hard to hear. I didn't realize the front windshield on a canvas covered Deville was such a problem!
I had the front windshield replaced on my canvas covered '95 Eldorado inexpensively. He explained about sending the car out to a body shop to have the "basket top" removed. Back to the body shop for the "basket replacement.Our restoration process requires you to ship us your dash. Once here, we strip off the old vinyl and foam as needed. Then, using new and improved polyethylene foam we are able to hand build it back to its original contours and dimensions.
The pad is then Vacuum Formed with the correct grain vinyl, using a higher quality then the original. Forget covers, caps or even NOS dash pads, which will eventually crack. Select only the best, an award winning Just Dashes restoration of your original dash pad, matching the original grain vinyl and color.
Over the years these pads crack, tear and oftentimes disintegrate. Using state of the art technology, we are able to re-create a replacement dash pad that takes the place of your worn out original.
This is different than a restoration of your original, in that we make one from scratch for you. These pads are constructed from durable polyurethane foam and are covered in state-of-the-art vinyl using our precise Thermo Vacuum Forming process, matching the original grain vinyl and color.
How to Repair Cracks in a Dashboard
These custom pads are easy to install, using your original factory mounting trim. Molded door panels, much like a padded dash, feature foam and vinyl that is Vacuum Formed onto a door panel board, or molded plastic template. After years of use, these vinyl panels fade, crack and deteriorate from normal use and exposure to UV rays. We at Just Dashes can meticulously repair these panels and restore them to the original factory grain and color.
Our craftsmen repair the damaged areas and will create a new backboard to remount the original factory vinyl. Depending on the variation of your specific year, make and model, we will also reskin and recolor your faded lower hard plastic panels. New carpet can be installed at the time of restoration.
In fact, if you send your stainless steel trim with the panels, we will polish them to perfection as well. At Just Dashes, we can restore or replace your original instruments and instrument bezels, regardless of year, make or model. Your gauge cluster is disassembled, cleaned, repaired and new faces are silkscreened, matching the original font, as well as new indicator pointers.
Plastic chrome plating and original cluster detailing is available when required.
After your gauges undergo a complete restoration, your plastic bezel is polished and everything is reassembled, making your installation process stress-free. Have your interior chrome pieces lost their luster and shine? Here at Just Dashes, your parts are repaired from cracks, scratches, chips, missing pieces, broken mounting bosses, and even burn marks. After the repair process, your parts will undergo vacuum metalizing plastic chrome process, making your pieces shine just like they did originally.
So whether you have an instrument bezel that is in need of a face lift, or some armrest bases that are broken and faded, or lastly an air vent that could double as a mirror. We can re-chrome and detail them, polish your lens and assemble for you, so that you can have it ready for a simple installation. Original plastic interior parts from several decades ago are usually dry, brittle and oxidized.
Most manufacturers never expected their vehicles to last this long, and the condition of the plastic proves that. Here at Just Dashes, we can restore almost any plastic part from your interior regardless of year, make or model car or truck.
Even cracked, chipped or warped parts can usually be repaired and re-dyed the correct interior color or a custom color from your supplied swatch. Oxidized kick panels and door panels, plastic dashboards, A-pillar trim, seat skirts, seat backs, arm rest bases and more, can all be restored by our skilled craftsmen. If you want the plastic parts from your interior brought back to concours condition, contact us today.
Their award winning vinyl parts restorations appear in many national points champions and magazine project vehicles.The dashboard of a vehicle gets a lot more abuse than people realize. Dust and moisture rapidly accumulate on the dashboard. Whenever you run the heat or the air conditioner you are subjecting the dashboard to those temperature changes. The sun is the most damaging of all as it shines down constantly on the dashboard with its rays being magnified by the glass.
And if you also factor in using the dashboard as a drum set at stop lights, it is no wonder the vinyl cracks. You can take the vehicle to the local mechanic or dealer to have it fixed or replaced or you can do it yourself. This article will show you how to repair a cracked dashboard with inexpensive materials and wasting very little of your time.
To ensure a strong bond the dashboard has to be clean. Wipe it down thoroughly with a dashboard cleaning rag. In order for a crack to be properly sealed it needs to be level. Use a utility knife to trim away parts of vinyl that are peeling away from the dashboard or are curling. These are the easiest to repair if you get to them fast enough.
You will need to use a paintable silicone. Not all silicone caulks are paintable. Fill the crack with silicone caulking and allow it to cure. It is a good idea to apply silicone in at least two layers. You want to inject enough silicone to fill the crack and not to just fill it on the surface.
If excess silicone appears above the crack, simply wet your finger and smooth it out. When the silicone has dried you can cover it with vinyl tape and then paint and blend the edges with the proper color. If your dashboard is heavily cracked, then you need to take severe steps to repair it. Fill the cracks as much as you can with silicone caulk as you did in Step 1.
An alternative to silicone would be a two-part epoxy solution or other industrial filler. This depends on the size of the crack. Fill the crack so that the filler overflows slightly. Smooth it out with a wet finger. If using epoxy or metal filler, then sand it down. Cover the top of the crack with fiberglass resin. This will create a very strong repair due to the interlocking fibers.
Let the fiberglass resin cure completely and then apply bondo over the fiberglass. This will fill in the voids found in the woven fibers. Let the bondo cure for several hours and then sand it down flush with the dashboard.
You can now mix vinyl paint to match the color of the dashboard and apply it to the bondo. Be sure to blend the edges so it matches the surrounding areas. A dashboard that's heavily cracked will not be able to be properly repaired.
In this case, you should replace it.A dashboard is an extremely important part of a vehicle. As they get older, all of these factors can cause dashboards to become faded, brittle, crack, and fall apart.
Although we recommend professional installation for most auto parts, the dash pad cover can be replaced by an average do-it-yourselfer. A screwdriver or ratchet may also be needed for any side pillars that need to be removed to fit the cover into place. Once dash is ready, apply adhesive to the cover and insert it into place. Once the cover has been set down, use masking tape to keep the cover tight to the dash while the adhesive dries. They are made from a type of vacuum formed plastic that allows for flexibility similar to rubber so that they are durable and can be easily maneuvered into position for easy automobile dashboard repair.
Simply apply the adhesive that is included to the dash cap and then lay in place over your old dashboard. These dash covers are laminated with a special layer of ultra-violet resistant material which won't fade in the sun and deteriorate your dashboard and cause cracks in it. These interior dash covers are a breakthrough for the aftermarket and are perfect for any auto restoration project!
In addition to our aftermarket dash pad covers, we also carry a small selection of OEM replacement dash covers for certain makes and models. These are genuine replacement dashboard covers and are the very same part you would receive if purchased from your local dealer.
In stock orders ship same day when ordered by 2pm ET. Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout. Our team of auto experts work hard to provide you with the highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts. We know not all auto parts are created equal. This is why we enforce a strict level of product standards and sourcing with every part. Our goal is to exceed our customers' expectations every day.
We are a team of passionate auto enthusiasts who are here to help. If you have a question about our parts or a repair contact us. Our 1A Auto Video Library has thousands of how-to auto repair installation videos specific to year, make and model. Each video guides you with step-by-step instructions to empower you to tackle your own repairs on your car, truck, SUV, or van. This part will only fit a vehicle with these options.
Thread starter CruiserJack Start date Apr 4, Well another project got done. For those who dont know me, I am trying to make up in cosmetic detailing and repair which I lack in mechanical repair acumen.
Therefore, the following is my offering to balance the scales against all of the mechanical advice I have used from fellow mudders. Come on Karma! I wanted to write a thread for those looking for options to repair your cracked dash which includes color matching. I had a wide crack just above the steering wheel which extended all the way to the windshield and I wanted to repair it, not just fill it.
Once repaired I wanted to match the repaired section with a color filler as closely as possible with the dash color. Pictures of my vinyl cavern I went to my local AutoZone and purchased the following kit.
How to Fix a Cracked Dash Pad
The package brags that it includes a plug-in electric heat iron to make pro-style repairs, 7 color compounds, clear vinyl adhesive and filler Net. First thing was to trim the crack with a razor blade so that there is absolutely no curling edges. This will allow the repair to blend in with the rest of the dash no awkward humps.
Next I cleaned the area with alcohol. Then I lined the edges of the crack with painter's tape being careful not to expose any of the dash area near the crack. I also extended the width of the tape double just to make sure I didnt get any adhesive on the dash. Then I used the "spatula" in the package to fill in the crack. Bad idea. It sucked. I ran to the garage and grabbed my painter's spatula and simply dragged the spatula across the crack with tons of adhesive under the blade so as to fill as I went.Classic Trucks!
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Dash Repair Kit
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